Captain Kyle Steyn admitted Glasgow Warriors will take some time to recover from the disappointment of failure on two fronts after they were beaten 43-19 to Toulon in the final of the EPCR Challenge Cup at the Aviva Stadium.
The defeat in Dublin came on the back of bowing out of the BKT United Rugby Championship in the quarter-finals after they slipped up against Munster at their Scotstoun fortress.
Tom Jordan’s sending off proved costly as the Warriors surrendered a 17-match unbeaten run at home when the Irish province prevailed 14-5 earlier this month.
Kyle Steyn gives his instant reaction from tonight’s game against Toulon ⚔️🛡️ pic.twitter.com/686AVmaHaG
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) May 19, 2023
And in Dublin, Steyn scored two tries and Sebastian Cancelliere also crossed but the game was essentially lost in the first half when the Warriors went into the interval 21-0 in arrears.
Toulon scored three tries in each half and were always in control to win the Challenge Cup for the first time.
“It’s disappointing and a pretty tough one to process,” Steyn said.
“We weren’t where we needed to be in the first 20 minutes, but credit to Toulon – we were too soft.
“To come this far, and progress the way we have, and then to come unstuck in two play-off games will take some time to get over.
“We had enough belief that we could get this done. I thought there were lessons we could have learned against Munster that would have put us in a position to win this, but we didn’t react enough to them.
“I’m proud of the way the boys kept on fighting. We created chances, but in play-off rugby you have to take your chances.
“At the start of the season we said we wanted to play rugby in a way that inspired people to follow us and support us and with the number of people following us in Dublin it felt as though we had done that to some degree.”
Toulon’s victory earned them a ticket into next season’s Heineken Champions Cup – a competition they won three years in a row between 2013-2015.
Toulon director of rugby Franck Azema said: “We learned a lot last year when we lost in the Challenge Cup final for a fourth time. This must now be the start of something and the next job is to build on it.
“We were consistent and efficient and we scored quickly. We never switched off and it was nice to finish with that final try in the last few minutes.”
The game was the last in European competition for the 39-year-old Italian number eight Sergio Parisse, who scored Toulon’s second try.
“I knew I was going into one of my last games, but I tried to treat it as just another game. I really enjoyed it,” said Parisse.
“We tried to dominate physically, played well and dominated from the first minute. We showed from the start that we wanted to take control.
“I’m just happy to be playing with this group and to be finishing my career at Toulon. It was a long day, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”